GODzone Adventure - Chapter 4

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A Suspicion of a Hint About the Race Ahead

Rob Howard / 25.02.2015See All Event Posts Follow Event

The trouble with this keeping the course secret thing, if you are journalist, is that there is little to say before the race,  At the moment teams are registering, but they don’t even know when they’ll be given the maps, and all the race staff are zip-lipped about everything.

What to do? Well, I found Race Director Warren Bates on his own and that was a good start. RD’s usually have lots of people buzzing around them for instruction, advice, comment, none of them getting any answers because the RD is on the phone, which he can’t hear very well as someone is trying to get him on the radio and all those people are talking to him.  To find Warren looking relaxed and under occupied is a good sign for the race ahead, tasks are delegated and may even be under control.

Having found Warren it was time ask him some open ended questions followed by long silences in the hope he’d say something of interest about the race ahead. It helps that he likes to talk, and although some of the answers were already in the notes and newsletters they are worth repeating as race followers don’t read them, and nor do a lot of the teams it seems!

This is what he said;

“It’s tough to pick a top 10 for this race. There are many really good Kiwi teams who fly under the radar a bit, but they are really strong. It’s also great that Vidaraid are here. Credit to them for coming here to race because they wanted to race in New Zealand, and not worrying too much about the strength of the competition as some other teams would have. It will be good for the local teams to have them here to measure themselves against.

“We’ve not really changed our approach to the course planning much. Most people seemed to think we’ve generally got it right and we are the biggest race by far in the World Series, so we must be doing something right. It’s not impossible we’ll have 70 teams next year.

“I think this will be the longest race we’ve run so far. I’d expect the leaders to finish in a similar time to last year, but there is no dark zone this time so they’ll be on the course for longer if they do. It will also be the highest elevation overall.  We went higher last year, but this time they will be on high ground for longer.

“The weather looks unsettled and teams registering today in this blistering sunshine still need to understand the temperature can quickly drop to 4 or 5 degrees. I think at some time teams will get hit with some bad weather on the course, and will have to deal with it if they are high up.

“We have one very different section which is new to us and which could catch a few people out if they are not prepared and we always make the course a journey. We don’t have silly ‘trouser fillers’, putting in abseils and games for no reason. We wouldn’t abseil down a cliff for the sake of it if you could walk down the side. What’s the point of that?!”

So there you have it, a no-nonsense Kiwi race on a course with integrity through the mountains, which may be affected by the weather, and is going to be hard fought. But then you knew that anyway, didn’t you?

Stay tuned for more thrilling instalments, and maybe even some facts.


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